In addition to celebrating our inaugural class of college graduates, we're also celebrating our biggest class of incoming students yet. This year's applicant pool was extremely competitive. The program team started accepting applications in January of this year, and received over 120 different applications from 30+ high schools. The review process involved the entire AO staff, as well as AO volunteers and current AO students. Each application was carefully read, and candidates were selected to interview.
We were blown away by the effort students put into their applications and interviews. We witnessed so much authenticity, courage, and vulnerability. We heard students talk about their dreams through a wide array of unique subject areas ranging from film and the arts, to tax help and government work! We heard themes of resilience, a deep appreciation for family and community, and achievement. After a very comprehensive and thoughtful process, we selected 20 students for the AO Class of 2027.
We want to extend our sincere gratitude to our donors, volunteers, and partners for going above and beyond to support AO and making this growth possible, especially over the last year. It's pretty amazing that we get to celebrate our first class of college graduates in the same month that we announce our largest class of incoming students! We could not have achieved these 2 impactful milestones without your support, and are so thankful for this community who always shows up and prioritizes our students’ success.
We have no doubt that these students will continue to achieve, connect, and inspire in order to make change in their communities, and cannot wait to see what they do!